Buddhism in a Nutshell

by

Narada Mahathera
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma-Sambuddhassa

Chapter I The Buddha
On the fullmoon day of May, in the year 623 B.C., there was born in the district of Nepal an Indian Sakya Prince named Siddhattha Gotama, who was destined to be the greatest religious teacher in the world. Brought up in the lap of luxury, receiving an education befitting a prince, he married and had a son. His contemplative nature and boundless compassion did not permit him to enjoy the fleeting material pleasures of a Royal household. He knew no woe, but he felt a deep pity for sorrowing humanity. Amidst comfort and prosperity, he realized the universality of sorrow. The palace, with all its worldly amusements, was no longer a congenial place for the compassionate prince. The time was ripe for him to depart. Realizing the vanity of sensual enjoyments, in his twenty-ninth year, he renounced all worldly pleasures and donning the simple yellow garb of an ascetic, alone, penniless, wandered forth in search of Truth and Peace. It was an unprecedented historic renunciation; for he renounced not in his old age but in the prime of manhood, not in poverty but in plenty. As it was the belief in the ancient days that no deliverance could be gained unless one leads a life of strict asceticism, he strenuously practiced all forms of severe austerities. "Adding vigil after vigil, and penance after penance," he made a superhuman effort for six long years. His body was reduced to almost a skeleton. The more he tormented his body, the farther his goal receded from him. The painful, unsuccessful austerities which he strenuously practiced proved absolutely futile. He was now fully convinced, through personal experience, of the utter futility of self-mortification which weakened his body and resulted in lassitude of spirit.

Benefiting by this invaluable experience of his, he finally decided to follow an independent course, avoiding the two extremes of selfindulgence and self-mortification. The former retards one's spiritual progress, and the latter weakens one's intellect. The new way which he himself discovered was the Middle Path, Majjhima Patipada, which subsequently became one of the salient characteristics of his teaching. One happy morning, while He was deeply absorbed in meditation, unaided and unguided by any supernatural power and solely relying on His efforts and wisdom, He eradicated all defilements, purified Himself, and, realizing things as they truly are, attained Enlightenment (Buddhahood) at the age of 35. He was not born a Buddha,1 but He became a Buddha by His own striving. As the perfect embodiment of all the virtues He preached, endowed with deep wisdom commensurate with His boundless compassion. He devoted the remainder of His precious life to serve humanity both by example and precept, dominated by no personal motive whatever. After a very successful ministry of 45 long years the Buddha, as every other human being, succumbed to the inexorable law of change, and finally passed away in His 80th year, exhorting His disciples to regard His doctrine as their teacher. The Buddha was a human being. As a man He was born, as a man He lived, and as a man His life came to an end. Though a human being, He became an extraordinary man (Acchariya Manussa), but He never arrogated to Himself divinity. The Buddha laid stress on this important point and left no room whatever for anyone to fall into the error of thinking that He was an immortal divine being. Fortunately there is no deification in the case of the Buddha. It should, however, be remarked that there was no Teacher, "ever so godless as the Buddha, yet none so god-like." The Buddha is neither an incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu, as is believed by some, nor is He a savior who freely saves others by His personal salvation. The Buddha exhorts His disciples to depend on themselves for their deliverance, for both purity and defilement depend on oneself. Clarifying His relationship with His followers and emphasizing the importance of self-reliance and individual striving, the Buddha plainly states: "You should exert yourselves, the Tathagatas2 are only teachers." The Buddhas point out the path, and it is left for us to follow that path to obtain our purification.

"To depend on others for salvation is negative, but to depend on oneself is positive." Dependence on others means a surrender of one's effort. In exhorting His disciples to be self-dependent the Buddha says in the Parinibbana Sutta: "Be ye islands unto yourselves, be ye a refuge unto yourselves, seek not for refuge in others." These significant words are self-elevating. They reveal how vital is self-exertion to accomplish one's object and, how superficial and futile it is to seek redemption through benignant saviors and to crave for illusory happiness in an after life through the propitiation of imaginary Gods or by irresponsive prayers and meaningless sacrifices. Furthermore, the Buddha does not claim the monopoly of Buddhahood which, as a matter of fact, is not the prerogative of any specially graced person. He reached the highest possible state of perfection any person could aspire to, and without the close-fist of a teacher he revealed the only straight path that leads thereto. According to the Teaching of the Buddha anybody may aspire to that supreme state of perfection if he makes the necessary exertion. The Buddha does not condemn men by calling them wretched sinners, but, on the contrary, He gladdens them by saying that they are pure in heart at conception. In His opinion the world is not wicked but is deluded by ignorance. Instead of disheartening His followers and reserving that exalted state only to Himself, He encourages and induces them to emulate Him, for Buddhahood is latent in all. In one sense all are potential Buddhas. One who aspires to become a Buddha is called a Bodhisatta, which, literally, means a wisdom-being. This Bodhisatta ideal is the most beautiful and the most refined course of life that has ever been presented to this ego-centric world, for what is nobler than a life of service and purity? As a Man He attained Buddhahood and proclaimed to the world the latent inconceivable possibilities and the creative power of man. Instead of placing an unseen Almighty God over man who arbitrarily controls the destinies of mankind, and making him subservient to a supreme power, He raised the worth of mankind. It was He who taught that man can gain his deliverance and purification by his own exertion without depending on an external God or mediating priests. It was he who taught the ego-centric world the noble ideal of selfless service. It was He who revolted against the degrading caste system and taught equality of mankind and gave equal opportunities for all to distinguish themselves in every walk of life.

He declared that the gates of success and prosperity were open to all in every condition of life, high or low, saint or criminal, who would care to turn a new leaf and aspire to perfection. Irrespective of caste, color or rank He established for both deserving men and women a democratically constituted celibate Order. He did not force His followers to be slaves either to His Teachings or to Himself but granted complete freedom of thought. He comforted the bereaved by His consoling words. He ministered to the sick that were deserted. He helped the poor that were neglected. He ennobled the lives of the deluded, purified the corrupted lives of criminals. He encouraged the feeble, united the divided, enlightened the ignorant, clarified the mystic, guided the benighted, elevated the base, dignified the noble. Both rich and poor, saints and criminals loved Him alike. Despotic and righteous kings, famous and obscure princes and nobles, generous and stingy millionaires, haughty and humble scholars, destitute paupers, down-trodden scavengers, wicked murderers, despised courtesans — all benefited by His words of wisdom and compassion. His noble example was a source of inspiration to all. His serene and peaceful countenance was a soothing sight to the pious eyes. His message of Peace and Tolerance was welcomed by all with indescribable joy and was of eternal benefit to every one who had the fortune to hear and practice it. Wherever His teachings penetrated it left an indelible impression upon the character of the respective peoples. The cultural advancement of all the Buddhist nations was mainly due to His sublime Teachings. In fact all Buddhist countries like Ceylon, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Nepal, Tibet, China, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, etc., grew up in the cradle of Buddhism. Though more than 2500 years have elapsed since the passing away of this greatest Teacher, yet his unique personality exerts a great influence on all who come to know Him. His iron will, profound wisdom, universal love, boundless compassion, selfless service, historic renunciation, perfect purity, magnetic personality, exemplary methods employed to propagate the Teachings, and his final success — all these factors have compelled about onefifth of the population of the world today to hail the Buddha as their supreme Teacher.

Paying a glowing tribute to the Buddha Sri Radhakrishnan states: "In Gautama the Buddha we have a master-mind from the East second to none so far as the influence on the thought and life of the human race is concerned, and, sacred to all as the founder of a religious tradition whose hold is hardly less wide and deep than any other. He belongs to the history of the world's thought, to the general inheritance of all cultivated men, for, judged by intellectual integrity, moral earnestness, and spiritual insight, He is undoubtedly one of the greatest figures in history. In The Three Greatest Men in History H.G. Wells writes: "In the Buddha you see clearly a man, simple, devout, lonely, battling for light — a vivid human personality, not a myth. He too gave a message to mankind universal in character. Many of our best modern ideas are in closest harmony with it. All the miseries and discontents are due, he taught, to selfishness. Before a man can become serene he must cease to live for his senses or himself. Then he merges into a great being. Buddha in different language called men to self-forgetfulness 500 years before Christ. In some ways he is nearer to us and our needs. He was more lucid upon our individual importance and service than Christ and less ambiguous upon the question of personal immortality." St. Hilaire remarks "The perfect model of all the virtues He preaches. His life has not a stain upon it." Fausboll says — "The more I know of Him, the more I love Him." A humble follower of his would say — "The more I know Him, the more I love Him; the more I love Him, the more I know Him."

Chapter II The Dhamma: Is it a Philosophy?
The non-aggressive, moral and philosophical system expounded by the Buddha, which demands no blind faith from its adherents, expounds no dogmatic creeds, encourages no superstitious rites and ceremonies,

for the first time in the history of Buddhism. recited the Dhamma. . His distinguished disciples preserved them by committing to memory and transmitting them orally from generation to generation. committed to writing on palm leaves (ola) in Ceylon.but advocates a golden mean that guides a disciple through pure living and pure thinking to the gain of supreme wisdom and deliverance from all evil. is called the Dhamma and is popularly known as Buddhism. and the Basket of Ultimate Doctrine (Abhidhamma Pitaka). Indian customs. This voluminous Tipitaka. the Basket of Discourses (Sutta Pitaka). During the reign of the pious Sinhala King Vattagamani Abhaya. A striking contrast between the Tipitaka and the Bible is that the former is not a gradual development like the latter. is estimated to be about eleven times the size of the Bible. which contains the essence of the Buddha's Teaching. about 83 B. Indirectly it reveals some important and interesting information about ancient history. the Tipitaka consists of three baskets. but the sublime Dhamma which He unreservedly bequeathed to humanity. As the word itself implies. as occasion arose. They are the Basket of Discipline (Vinaya Pitaka). Immediately after His demise 500 chief Arahats3 versed in the Dhamma4 and Vinaya. for the future discipline of the Order of monks (Bhikkhus) and nuns (Bhikkunis). The Tipitaka was compiled and arranged in its present form by those Arahats of old.5 held a convocation to rehearse the Doctrine as was originally taught by the Buddha. Venerable Ananda Thera. arts.C. An account of the life and ministry of the Buddha is also given. etc. the Tipitaka was. while the Venerable Upali recited the Vinaya. The Vinaya Pitaka which is regarded as the sheet anchor to the oldest historic celibate order — the Sangha — mainly deals with rules and regulations which the Buddha promulgated. It described in detail the gradual development of the Sasana (Dispensation). The all-merciful Buddha has passed away. still exists in its pristine purity. science. Although the Master has left no written records of His Teachings. who enjoyed the special privilege of hearing all the discourses..

The Vinaya Pitaka consists of the five following books: (Vibhanga): 1. viz: Digha Nikaya (Collection of Long Discourses). Dhammapada (Way of Truth) 3. Udana (Paeans of Joy) 1. Anguttara Nikaya (Collection of Discourses arranged in accordance with numbers). included in it. The fifth is subdivided into fifteen books: 1. It is like a book of prescriptions. Moggallana. 4. Pacittiya Pali — Minor Offenses (Khandaka): 3. or give a detailed reply when He knew the inquirer to be an earnest seeker. There may be seemingly contradictory statements. Khuddaka Nikaya (Smaller Collection). Cullavagga Pali — Shorter Section 5. Parajika Pali — Major Offenses 2. Majjhima Nikaya (Collection of Middle-Length Discourses). Khuddaka Patha (Shorter texts) 2. There are also several other discourses which deal with both the material and moral progress of His lay followers. 5. There are also a few discourses delivered by some of His distinguished disciples such as the Venerable Sariputta. 2. delivered by the Buddha himself on various occasions. Ananda. .. but they should not be misconstrued as they were opportunely uttered by the Buddha to suit a particular purpose: for instance. 3. Most of the sermons were intended mainly for the benefit of Bhikkhus and they deal with the Holy life and with the expositions of the doctrine. Mahavagga Pali — Greater Section 4. etc. Parivara Pali — Epitome of the Vinaya The Sutta Pitaka consists chiefly of discourses. This Pitaka is divided into five Nikayas or collections. to the self-same question He would maintain silence (when the inquirer is merely foolishly inquisitive). Samyutta Nikaya (Collection of Kindred Sayings). as the sermons embodied therein were expounded to suit the different occasions and the temperaments of various persons.

to help the understanding of things as they truly are. Consciousness is defined. Peta Vatthu (Stories of Petas) 8. Buddhavamsa (The History of the Buddha) 15. Apadana (Lives of Arahats) 14. Niddesa (Expositions) 12. food for thought. fundamental units of matter. The composition of each type of consciousness is set forth in detail. an ethical system has been evolved. properties of matter. Matter is summarily discussed.4. an intellectual treat. Patisambhida Magga (Analytical Knowledge) 13. are explained. Nibbana. and a philosophy has been developed on those lines. Jataka (Birth Stories) 11. Mental states are enumerated. In the Sutta Pitaka is found the conventional teaching (vohara desana) while in the Abhidhamma Pitaka is found the ultimate teaching (paramattha-desana). Thoughts are analyzed and classified chiefly from an ethical standpoint. Dhammasangani (Classification of Dhammas) . The Abhidhamma Pitaka consists of seven books: 1. relationship between mind and matter. Sutta Nipata (Collected Discourses) 6. to realize the ultimate goal. Iti Vuttaka ("Thus said" Discourses) 5. Therigatha (Psalms of the Sisters) 10. Theragatha (Psalms of the Brethren) 9. Irrelevant problems that interest mankind but having no relation to one's purification. the two composite factors of the so-called being. Abhidhamma is an indispensable guide. Vimana Vatthu (Stories of Celestial Mansions) 7. Based on that philosophy. and to research scholars. sources of matter. How thoughts arise. containing as it does the profound philosophy of the Buddha's Teaching in contrast to the illuminating and simpler discourses in the Sutta Pitaka. is minutely described. To the wise. Cariya Pitaka (Modes of Conduct) The Abhidhamma Pitaka is the most important and the most interesting of the three. are deliberately set aside. The Abhidhamma investigates mind and matter. to the spiritually evolved.

but is immutable. Bergson advocates the doctrine of change. Spinoza. forestalled many a modern scientist and philosopher. (Anicca). The sublime Dhamma enshrined in these sacred texts. 6. everlasting. Incidentally. however. for the Buddha taught His doctrine both to the masses and to the intelligentsia. Schopenhauer in his "World as Will and Idea" has presented the truth of suffering and its cause in a Western garb. Prof. after a relentless analysis of the mind. James refers to a stream of consciousness. He has. What I have not taught is comparable to the amount of leaves in the forest." Berkeley proved that the so-called indivisible atom is a metaphysical fiction. 5.2. Patthana (The Book of Relations) In the Tipitaka one finds milk for the babe and meat for the strong. Sorrow (Dukkha). The Buddha expounded these doctrines of Transiency. concluded that consciousness consists of fleeting mental states. not ephemeral. 7. deals with truths and facts. and No-Soul (Anatta) some 2500 years ago while He was sojourning in the valley of the Ganges. permanent. The Buddha has presented us with no new astounding philosophical theories. 3. nor did He venture to create any new material science. which is unique. On one occasion while the Buddha was passing through a forest He took a handful of leaves and said: "O Bhikkhus. asserts that all phenomenal existence is transitory." He taught what He deemed was absolutely essential for one's purification making no distinction between an esoteric and exoteric . what I have taught is comparable to the leaves in my hand. and is not concerned with theories and philosophies which may be accepted as profound truths today only to be thrown overboard tomorrow. Vibhanga (The book of Divisions) Katha-Vatthu (Points of Controversy) Puggala-Paññatti (Descriptions of Individuals) Dhatu-Katha (Discussion with reference to elements) Yamaka (The Book of Pairs). In his opinion sorrow is conquered "by finding an object of knowledge which is not transient. He explained to us what is within and without so far as it concerns our emancipation. though he denies not the existence of a permanent reality. Hume. 4. It should be understood that the Buddha did not preach all that He knew. as ultimately expounded a path of deliverance.

cannot strictly be called a mere philosophy because it is not merely the "love of. immediate realization is its ultimate goal. since one deals mainly with material truths while the other confines itself to moral and spiritual truths. Buddhism no doubt accords with science. Buddhism. and above all to be realized. The Dhamma is to be studied. in Pali. for it is not "a system of faith and worship owing any allegiance to a supernatural being. Here mere belief is dethroned and is substituted by confidence based on knowledge. As such the Dhamma is compared to a raft which is meant for the sole purpose of escaping from the ocean of birth and death (Samsara). therefore. Chapter III Is it a Religion? It is neither a religion in the sense in which that word is commonly understood. inducing the search after. which. but both should be treated as parallel teachings." Buddhism does not demand blind faith from its adherents." Buddhism may approximate a philosophy. and more to be practiced. whereas Buddhism lays special emphasis on practice and realization. but it is very much more comprehensive. nor is it a subject to be studied from a historical or literary standpoint. wisdom.doctrine. The subject matter of each is different. Philosophy deals mainly with knowledge and is not concerned with practice. . The confidence placed by a follower on the Buddha is like that of a sick person in a noted physician. He was characteristically silent on questions irrelevant to His noble mission. or a student in his teacher. for without practice one cannot appreciate the truth. is known as Saddha. On the contrary it is to be learned and put into practice in the course of one's daily life. The Dhamma He taught is not merely to be preserved in books. A Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha because it was He who discovered the Path of Deliverance.

e. thinking that it has thus been handed down through many generations).. Do not accept anything thinking that the ascetic is respected by us (therefore it is right to accept his word). To the seekers of truth the Buddha says: "Do not accept anything on (mere) hearsay — (i. conduce to well-being and happiness — then do you live acting accordingly. thinking that as the speaker seems to be a good person his words should be accepted).e. He can exercise his own free will and develop his knowledge even to the extent of becoming a Buddha himself. Do not accept anything merely because it seems acceptable — (i. Do not accept anything by merely considering the reasons. Samma-ditthi. when performed and undertaken. The Buddha. "But when you know for yourselves — these things are immoral. these things are censured by the wise. Do not accept anything on account of mere rumors — (i. these things. Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures. Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your pre-conceived notions. thinking that thus have we heard it from a long time). Do not accept anything by mere tradition — (i.e. or. these things are praised by the wise. but we ourselves are directly responsible for our purification. The Buddha gives no such guarantee..A Buddhist does not seek refuge in the Buddha with the hope that he will be saved by His personal purification.e. these things are blameless. Nor does a Buddhist sacrifice his freedom of thought by becoming a follower of the Buddha. as Teacher. It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others. these things. "When you know for yourselves — these things are moral. Do not accept anything by mere suppositions." . Although a Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha. in other words.. instructs us.. One could neither purify nor defile another. Do not accept anything by mere inference. he does not make any self-surrender. these things are blameworthy. The starting point of Buddhism is reasoning or understanding. by believing what others say without any investigation). when performed and undertaken conduce to ruin and sorrow — then indeed do you reject them.

A Buddhist should not pray to be saved. He tries to follow His noble example. selfish bargaining with God. purification and enlightenment. Count Kevserling remarks — "I see nothing more grand in this world than the image of the Buddha. Buddhists do not worship an image expecting worldly or spiritual favors. "Prayers take the character of private communications.These inspiring words of the Buddha still retain their original force and freshness. Though there is no blind faith. in Buddhism. These external objects of reverence are not absolutely necessary. An understanding Buddhist. The Bo-tree is also a symbol of Enlightenment. The Buddha says — "He honors me best who practices my teaching best." Furthermore. Instead of petitional prayers there is meditation that leads to self-control. but should rely on himself and win his freedom. however. An intellectual person could dispense with them as he could easily focus his attention and visualize the Buddha. It is an active striving. The Buddha does not grant favors to those who pray to Him. but pay their reverence to what it represents. and out of gratitude. However much we may pray to the Buddha we cannot be saved. we pay such external respect but what the Buddha expects from His disciple is not so much obeisance as the actual observance of His Teachings. The Buddha not only speaks of the futility of offering prayers but also disparages a slave mentality. It serves as a tonic both to the heart and the mind. it must be mentioned that there are not petitional or intercessory prayers in Buddhism. but they are useful as they tend to concentrate one's attention. It seeks for objects of earthly ambitions and . It is an absolutely perfect embodiment of spirituality in the visible domain." "He who sees the Dhamma sees me. Meditation is neither a silent reverie nor keeping the mind blank." With regard to images. designedly makes himself feel that he is in the presence of the living Buddha and thereby gains inspiration from His noble personality and breathes deep His boundless compassion. For our own good.. in offering flowers and incense to an image. one might argue whether there is no worshiping of images etc.

therefore. nor "the outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a God or gods having power over their own destiny to whom obedience. not subservient to any higher supernatural power which controls his destinies and which arbitrarily rewards and punishes. But Buddhism recognizes the infinite latent possibilities of man and teaches that man can gain deliverance from suffering by his own efforts independent of divine help or mediating priests. Meditation on the other hand is selfchange. Chapter IV Is Buddhism an Ethical System? It no doubt contains an excellent ethical code which is unparalleled in its perfection and altruistic attitude. by religion. It deals with one way of life for the monks and another for the laity." — Sri Radhakris hnan In Buddhism there is not. a teaching which furnishes men with a guide to conduct that is in accord with this its in-look. then it is certainly a religion of religions. therefore. Since Buddhists do not believe in revelations of a divine being Buddhism does not claim the monopoly of truth and does not condemn any other religion. and honor are due. A Buddhist is. an Almighty God to be obeyed and feared. The Buddha does not believe in a cosmic potentate."6 or a system to get rid of the ills of life. Morality is only the preliminary stage on ." If. Buddhism cannot. a teaching which looks into life and not merely at it. In Buddhism there are no divine revelations or divine messengers. as in most other religions. strictly be called a religion because it is neither a system of faith and worship. service. But Buddhism is much more than an ordinary moral teaching. a teaching which enables those who give it heed to face life with fortitude and death with serenity. omniscient and omnipresent. is meant "a teaching which takes a view of life that is more than superficial.inflames the sense of self.

is itself insufficient to gain one's emancipation. Conduct. but he refrains from evil because it retards. Pain or happiness are the inevitable results of one's actions. but morality is only the beginning and not the end of Buddhism. Buddhism is neither a metaphysical path nor a ritualistic path. As a moral teaching it excels all other ethical systems. Morality in Buddhism is not founded on any doubtful revelation nor is it the ingenious invention of an exceptional mind. but not an end in itself. etc. In one sense Buddhism is not a religion. does good because it aids progress to Enlightenment (Bodhi). In Buddhism there is no one to reward or punish. It is neither self-mortification nor self-indulgence. Neither hope of reward nor fear of punishment acts as an incentive to him to do good or to refrain from evil. Dhammika Sutta. It is neither sceptical nor dogmatic. Parabhava Sutta. Vyaggapajja Sutta. but it is a rational and practical code based on verifiable facts and individual experience. A Buddhist is aware of future consequences. . It should be mentioned that any external supernatural agency plays no part whatever in the moulding of the character of a Buddhist. It should be coupled with wisdom or knowledge (pañña). Vasala Sutta. In observing the principles of morality a Buddhist should not only regard his own self but also should have a consideration for others we well — animals not excluded. though essential. and is a means to an end. in another sense it is the religion of religions. Mangala Sutta. To understand the exceptionally high standard of morality the Buddha expects from His ideal followers.the Path of Purity. one must carefully read the Dhammapada. The question of incurring the pleasure or displeasure of a God does not enter the mind of a Buddhist. The base of Buddhism is morality. in another sense it is the philosophy of philosophies. There are also some who do good because it is good. In one sense Buddhism is not a philosophy. Karaniya Sutta. refrain from evil because it is bad. and wisdom is its apex. Sigalovada Sutta.

. with the Dhamma as a Refuge." — Parinibbana Sutta Chapter V Some Salient Features of Buddhism The foundations of Buddhism are the four Noble Truths — namely. Seek no external refuge.e. till a Buddha. There is no English equivalent that exactly conveys the meaning of the Pali term. which. As such the Buddha exhorts: "Abide with oneself as an island. but is closely associated with oneself. old age is suffering. The original Pali term for Buddhism is Dhamma. Whether the Buddhas arise or not the Dhamma exists. the Summum Bonum of Buddhism). and the Middle Way. This Dhamma is not something apart from oneself.e. with oneself as a Refuge. and Deliverance itself. The Dhamma is that which really is. It is the Doctrine of Reality. What is the Noble Truth of Suffering? "Birth is suffering. It is a means of Deliverance from suffering. It lies hidden from the ignorant eyes of men. disease is suffering. Nibbana. an Enlightened One. to be . It is neither eternalism nor nihilism. It is a unique Path of Enlightenment. It is neither absolutely this-worldly nor other-worldly. to be united with the unpleasant is suffering. literally. realizes and compassionately reveals it to the world. its cause (i. Abide with the Dhamma as an island. Suffering (the raison d'etre of Buddhism). its end (i. Craving). means that which upholds.It is neither pessimism nor optimism.. death is suffering.

and right concentration. the origin of the world. it is the craving for sensual pleasures (Kamatanha)."8 What is the Noble Truth of the Annihilation of Suffering? "It is the remainderless. It is neither totally pessimistic nor totally optimistic." Whether the Buddhas arise or not these four Truths exist in the universe." Here the term world is applied to suffering. the forsaking of it. on the contrary. not to receive what one craves for is suffering. the end of the world and the path leading to the end of the world. the breaking loose. Buddhism rests on the pivot of sorrow. the Dhamma may be called the law of cause and effect." What is the Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering? "It is the craving which leads from rebirth to rebirth accompanied by lust of passion. based on that philosophy. right mindfulness. right action. for existence (Bhavatanha)7 and for annihilation (Vibhavatanha)." What is the Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Annihilation of Suffering? "It is the Noble Eightfold Path which consists of right understanding. right livelihood. total annihilation of this very craving. These two embrace the entire body of the Buddha's Teachings. right thoughts. the fourth represents the ethics of Buddhism. fleeing. But it does not thereby follow that Buddhism is pessimistic. The first three represent the philosophy of Buddhism. right endeavor.separated from the pleasant is suffering. do I proclaim the world. All these four truths are dependent on this body itself. The Buddhas only reveal these Truths which lay hidden in the dark abyss of time. Scientifically interpreted. which delights now here now there. it teaches a truth that lies midway between them. but. The Buddha states: "In this very one-fathom long body along with perceptions and thoughts. deliverance from it. right speech. in brief the five Aggregates of Attachment are suffering. One would be justified in calling the Buddha a pessimist if He had only enunciated the Truth of suffering without .

honors or fame. If such possessions are misdirected. Hence the Buddha Dhamma is not based on the fear of the unknown. Real happiness is found within. According to the Buddha non-attachment is a greater bliss." Ordinarily the enjoyment of sensual pleasures is the highest and only happiness of the average man. according to the Buddha. The Buddha does not expect His followers to be constantly pondering on suffering and lead a miserable unhappy life. therefore rational and intensely practical. but is founded on the bedrock of facts which can be tested by ourselves and verified by experience. It can only be annihilated by treading the Noble Eightfold Path and attaining the supreme bliss of Nibbana. He exhorts them to be always happy and cheerful. a vague general opinion that pain and evil predominate in human affairs. misappropriated or even viewed with attachment. Blind faith. The original doctrine of the Buddha is in fact as optimistic as any optimism of the West. therefore. children. The true Buddhist looks forward with enthusiasm to absorption into eternal bliss. Such a rational and practical system cannot contain mysteries or esoteric doctrines. is foreign to Buddhism. The Buddha perceived the universality of sorrow and did prescribe a panacea for this universal sickness of humanity. and is not to be defined in terms of wealth. Where there is no blind faith there cannot be any coercion or . but they are illusive and temporary. These four Truths can be verified by experience. Buddhism is. There is no doubt a kind of momentary happiness in the anticipation. The author of the article on Pessimism in the Encyclopedia Britannica writes: "Pessimism denotes an attitude of hopelessness towards life. To call it pessimism is merely to apply to it a characteristically Western principle to which happiness is impossible without personality. they will be a source of pain and sorrow to the possessors. which is the total extinction of suffering. forcibly or unjustly obtained. gratification and retrospection of such fleeting material pleasures. Buddhism takes suffering for granted and seeks the cause to eradicate it. for zest (Piti) is one of the factors of Enlightenment. is Nibbana. Instead of trying to rationalize suffering. The highest conceivable happiness.suggesting a means to put an end to it. Suffering exists as long as there is craving.

Aldous Huxley writes: "Alone of all the great world religions Buddhism made its way without persecution censorship or inquisition. because it has had the smallest element of persecution. no mighty monarch wielded his powerful sword to propagate the Dhamma. O householder. no Bruno was burnt alive." Buddhism is saturated with this spirit of free enquiry and complete tolerance. Buddhism appeals more to the intellect than to the emotion. which. The more pleased am I with this remark of yours. and no conversion was made either by force or by repulsive methods. On one occasion Upali." In the name of Buddhism no altar was reddened with the blood of a Hypatia. To the unique credit of Buddhism it must be said that throughout its peaceful march of 2500 years no drop of blood was shed in the name of the Buddha. make a thorough investigation. It is well for a distinguished man like you to make (first) a thorough investigation. approached the Buddha and was so pleased with the Buddha's exposition of the Dhamma that he instantly expressed his desire to become a follower of the Buddha.persecution or fanaticism. Dhamma and the Sangha. I prefer Buddhism. a follower of Nigantha Nataputta. said: "Lord." Lord Russell remarks: "Of the great religions of history. It is the teaching of the open mind and the sympathetic heart. Lord. But. the Buddha was the first and the greatest missionary that lived on earth. especially in its earliest forms. Yet. its adherents would have taken me round the streets in a procession proclaiming that such and such a millionaire had renounced his former faith and embraced theirs. had I been a follower of another religion." Upali. who was overjoyed at this unexpected remark of the Buddha. Lord. But the Buddha cautioned him. It is concerned more with the character of the devotees than with their numerical strength. Your Reverence advises me to investigate further. lighting and warming the whole universe with its twin . For the second time. saying: "Of a verity. I seek refuge in the Buddha.

He said: "It behooves you to do this — It behooves you not to do this. sheds its genial glow on every being struggling in the ocean of birth and death. women and all living beings. The courtesan Ambapali entered the Order and attained Arhatship. irrespective of caste. scavengers. It was also the Buddha who raised the status of downtrodden women and not only brought them to a realization of their importance to society but also founded the first celibate religious order for women with rules and regulations. Sometimes the Pali term used to denote women is Matugama. the robber and criminal. was converted to a compassionate saint." As a mother. for instance. Upali. Fishermen. but only regarded them as feeble by nature. woman holds an honorable place in Buddhism. together with warriors and Brahmans. courtesans. The Buddha was so tolerant that He did not even exercise His power to give commandments to His lay followers. the barber. was made in preference to all other the chief in matters pertaining to Vinaya discipline." He commands not but does exhort.rays of wisdom and compassion. were freely admitted to the Order and enjoyed equal privileges and were also given positions of rank. Caste or color does not preclude one from becoming a Buddhist or from entering the Order. It was the Buddha who first attempted to abolish slavery and vehemently protested against the degrading caste system which was firmly rooted in the soil of India. The fierce Alavaka sought refuge in the Buddha and became a saint. This tolerance the Buddha extended to men. He saw the innate good of both men and women and assigned to them their due places in His teaching. In the Word of the Buddha it is not by mere birth one becomes an outcast or a noble. Even the wife is regarded as "best friend" (parama sakha) of the husband. but by one's actions. color or rank. . Such instances could easily be multiplied from the Tipitaka to show that the portals of Buddhism were wide open to all. which means "mother-folk" or "society of mothers. The Buddha did not humiliate women. Angulimala. Sex is no barrier to attaining Sainthood. Instead of using the imperative. the scavenger. who attained Arhatship was admitted by the Buddha Himself into the Order. The timid Sunita.

Asoka says: "Concourse alone is best. despite their caste or rank. Just as the Arahats Sariputta and Moggallana were made the two chief disciples in the Order of monks. which later proved to be a great blessing to many women. daughters of noble families. bereaved mothers. even so he appointed Arahats Khema and Uppalavanna as the two chief female disciples. O Lord of men. making no distinction whatsoever with regard to caste. A genuine Buddhist would exercise this loving-kindness towards every living being and identify himself with all. yet later He yielded to the entreaties of His foster-mother. and founded the Bhikkhuni Order. Many women." . princesses. color or sex. and breathed that free atmosphere which is denied to those cloistered in cottages and palatial mansions. In this new Order. On one occasion the Buddha said to King Kosala who was displeased on hearing that a daughter was born to him: A woman child.Hasty critics are only making ex parte statements when they reproach Buddhism with being inimical to women. pitiable courtesans — all. Although at first the Buddha refused to admit women into the Order on reasonable grounds. widows. Many other female disciples too were named by the Buddha Himself as His distinguished and pious followers. and gained their emancipation by following the Dhamma and entering the Order. There is no reason to keep aloof from others merely because they belong to another persuasion or another nationality. queens. destitute women. enjoyed perfect consolation and peace. It was also the Buddha who banned the sacrifice of poor beasts and admonished His followers to extend their loving kindness (Metta) to all living beings — even to the tiniest creature that crawls at one's feet. No man has the power or the right to destroy the life of another as life is precious to all. all should harken willingly to the doctrine professed by others. Pajapati Gotami. that is. who otherwise would have fallen into oblivion. may prove Even a better offspring than a male. In that noble Toleration Edict which is based on CullaVyuha and Maha-Vyuha Suttas. met on a common platform. It is this Buddhist Metta that attempts to break all the barriers which separate one from another. distinguished themselves in various ways.

Here is a man virtuous and holy. endowed with fine mental. despite his shortcomings and evil modes of life. He regards the whole world as his motherland and all as his brothers and sisters. no renegade or untouchable. the Doctrine of Rebirth. Buddhism. To a Buddhist there is no far or near. therefore. or at the ripe age of eighty or hundred? . Why. and another should perish in the flower or manhood. It is the noblest of all unifying influences and the only lever that can uplift the world. no enemy or foreigner. but. nonaggressiveness. There is another vicious and foolish. practicability. The wicked world runs counter to his ambitions and desires. Chapter VI Kamma or the Law of Moral Causation We are faced with a totally ill-balanced world. Anatta and Nibbana. He is rewarded with all forms of favors. if it be permitted to say so. is another form of caste system founded on a wider basis. We see one born into a condition of affluence. He is poor and miserable in spite of his honest dealings and piety. since universal love realized through understanding has established the brotherhood of all living beings. moral and physical qualities and another into a condition of abject poverty and wretchedness. is supernationalism. ill-luck is ever ready to greet him. contrary to his expectation. should one be an inferior and another a superior? Why should one be wrested from the hands of a fond mother when he has scarcely seen a few summers. It is not nationalism which. A real Buddhist is a citizen of the world. It is universal. mainly owing to its tolerance. These are some of the salient features of Buddhism. it may be questioned. and amongst some of the fundamental doctrines may be said — Kamma or the Law of Moral Causation. Buddhism is. We perceive the inequalities and manifold destinies of men and the numerous grades of beings that exist in the universe.Buddhism is not confined to any country or any particular nation. efficacy and universality. in other words. unique. but accounted to be fortune's darling. rationality.

and another with criminal tendencies? Why should some be linguists. is no more true than that this book has come here of itself. To say that anything happens by chance. how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an Almighty Being. artists. deaf and deformed? Why should some be blessed and others cursed from their birth? These are some problems that perplex the minds of all thinking men. "In giving out punishments and rewards. Could this be the fiat of an irresponsible Creator? Huxley writes: "If we are to assume that anybody has designedly set this wonderful universe going. he would to a certain extent be passing judgment on himself. How are we to account for all this unevenness of the world. and another in absolute poverty. mathematicians or musicians from the very cradle? Why should some be congenitally blind. nothing happens to man that he does not deserve for some reason or another.Why should one be sick and infirm. and every human feeling and aspiration is also his work. then every occurrence. every human thought. steeped in misery? Why should one be born a millionaire and another a pauper? Why should one be born with saintly characteristics. it is perfectly clear to me that he is no more entirely benevolent and just in any intelligible sense of the words." . How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to him. including every human action." According to Einstein: "If this being (God) is omnipotent. and another strong and healthy? Why should one be handsome. Strictly speaking. this inequality of mankind? Is it due to the work of blind chance or accident? There is nothing in this world that happens by blind chance or accident. than that he is malevolent and unjust. repulsive to all? Why should one be brought up in the lap of luxury. and another ugly and hideous.

through which he will never cease to be. regardless of his individual desires. The former theory is disproved by the fact that some people who have suffered very little but have been fortunate in their ancestry and education have very fine characters. ambitions. fortunate or unfortunate. for an eternity has passed before he was. or God is not Almighty." In the words of Schopenhauer: "Whoever regards himself as having become out of nothing must also think that he will again become nothing. is a monstrous thought." Lord Russell states: "The world.S. Pain. Such is theological fatalism. from the first step in the process of his physical creation to the moment of his last breath."According to the theological principles man is created arbitrarily and without his desire and at the moment of his creation is either blessed or damned eternally. all-wise. it . He is therefore responsible for all of it. was created by a God who is both good and omnipotent. Haldane writes: "Either suffering is needed to perfect human character. struggles or devoted prayers. and the assumption that man is made out of nothing leads necessarily to the assumption that death is his absolute end." Commenting on human sufferings and God. Hence man is either good or evil. And a creator could presumably create whatever he or it wanted. and all-powerful. J. and then a second eternity had begun. Before He created the world he foresaw all the pain and misery that it would contain.B. noble or depraved. misery. hopes. "If birth is the absolute beginning." — Spencer Lewis As Charles Bradlaugh says: "The existence of evil is a terrible stumbling block to the Theist. Prof. The objection to the second is that it is only in connection with the universe as a whole that there is any intellectual gap to be filled by the postulation of a deity. then death must be his absolute end. crime. we are told. poverty confront the advocate of eternal goodness and challenge with unanswerable potency his declaration of Deity as allgood.

love and omnipotent fairness. that man created God in his own image. are partly instrumental. mercy. on the contrary." Some writers of old authoritatively declared that God created man in his own image. It is however. With the growth of civilization man's concept of God also became more and more refined. foreknew us. impossible to conceive of such a being either in or outside the universe. xiv." Surely "the doctrine that all men are sinners and have the essential sin of Adam is a challenge to justice. be very often temperamentally. "I make peace and create evil. the birth of a saint or a noble man in . inherited from parents. With regard to the more complex and subtle mental. Yet why should identical twins who are physically alike. morally and intellectually totally different? Heredity alone cannot account for these vast differences. If God knew in advance the sins of which man would be guilty. which is about 30 millionth part of an inch across. enjoying the same privilege of upbringing.) "What! I should call on that infinite love that has served us so well? Infinite cruelty. says. The theory of heredity cannot give a satisfactory explanation for the birth of a criminal in a long line of honorable ancestors. foredoomed us. intellectual and moral differences we need more enlightenment. it accounts more plausibly for their similarities than for most of the differences." In "Despair. Strictly speaking." a poem of his old age. Lord Tennyson thus boldly attacks God. but they cannot be solely responsible for the subtle distinctions and vast differences that exist amongst individuals. Could this variation be due to heredity and environment? One must admit that all such chemico-physical phenomena revealed by scientists. Some modern thinkers state. inheriting like genes. who. as recorded in Isaiah. rather that made everlasting hell.is useless to argue that the pain in the world is due to sin. The infinitesimally minute chemico-physical germ. Made us. Better our dead brute mother who never has heard us groan. explains only a portion of man. 7." (Isaiah. and does what he will with his own. his physical foundation. He was clearly responsible for all the consequences of those sins when He decided to create man.

its cause. moral and temperamental differences are mainly due to our own actions and tendencies. On one occasion9 a certain young man named Subha approached the Buddha. Kamma constitutes both good and evil. Good gets good. Thus from a Buddhist standpoint. the good looking and the illlooking. "nature and nurture.a family of evil repute. Kamma. We build our own hells. our present mental. Like attracts like. a criminal today may be a saint tomorrow. the low-born and the high-born. we will be the result of what we are." The Buddha briefly replied: "Every living being has kamma as its own. As some Westerners prefer to say Kamma is "action-influence. For instance. According to Buddhism this variation is due not only to heredity. the powerful and the powerless. means action. it means the meritorious and demeritorious volition (Kusala Akusala Cetana). Evil gets evil. to the result of our own inherited past actions and our present deeds. In one sense we are the result of what we were. we are not totally the result of what we were and we will not absolutely be the result of what we are. the hale and the ailing. both past the present. We create our own heavens. the ignorant and the intelligent. This is the law of Kamma. the poor and the rich." said he. its kinsman." We reap what we have sown. "For. but. its inheritance. "we find amongst mankind those of brief life and those of long life. intellectual. literally. and questioned why and wherefore it was that among human beings there are the low and high states. Kamma is that which differentiates all living beings into low and high states. happiness and misery. . environment. What we sow we reap somewhere or some when. We are the architects of our own fate." but also to our own kamma. In short we ourselves are our own kamma." He then explained the cause of such differences in accordance with the law of moral causation. men of genius and great religious teachers. for the arising of infant prodigies. in its ultimate sense. its refuge. In another sense. We ourselves are responsible for our own deeds. or in other words.

order of mind or psychic law. It operates in its own field without the intervention of an external independent ruling agency. order of germs or seeds (physical organic order).g. e. Kamma Niyama. the natural phenomena occurring at the advent of a Bodhisatta in his last birth. These are their intrinsic characteristics. It is a law in itself. physical (inorganic) order.. for it is his Kamma to be bad. sugary taste from sugar cane or honey etc. It is one's own doing reacting on oneself. but it does not assert that everything is due to Kamma.. there are five orders or processes (Niyamas) which operate in the physical and mental realms: i. The scientific theory of cells and genes and the physical similarity of twins may be ascribed to this order. Bija Niyama. etc. Kamma is neither fate nor predestination imposed upon us by some mysterious unknown power to which we must helplessly submit ourselves. power of mind etc. only one of the five orders that prevail in the universe. gravitation. ii. iv. iii. If everything were due to Kamma.Buddhism attributes this variation to Kamma. Citta Niyama.g. order of the norm. a man must ever be bad. e. No scientist has ordered that water should consist of H2O. Ordinary laws of nature. but it does not thereby follow that there should be a law-giver. rice produced from rice-seed.. e. therefore. and that coldness should be one of its properties. How far one diverts it depends on oneself. order of act and result. desirable and undesirable acts produce corresponding good and bad results. seasonal phenomena of winds and rains. processes of consciousness (Citta vithi). According to Buddhism. need no law-giver. for if one's Kamma is such one will be cured.g. v. One need not consult a physician to be cured of a disease. for instance.g. Utu Niyama. and so one has the possibility to divert the course of Kamma to some extent. Nobody has commanded that water should seek its own level. e. Kamma is. e. Every mental or physical phenomenon could be explained by these allembracing five orders or processes which are laws in themselves. like gravitation. Dhamma Niyama.. . Nobody..g. has decreed that fire should burn.

Kamma and rebirth are accepted as axiomatic. kindles his enthusiasm. Seed produces the fruit. "the effect already blooms in the cause.It must also be said that such phraseology as rewards and punishments should not be allowed to enter into discussions concerning the problem of Kamma. The organic life . It should be stated that Kamma has both the continuative and the retributive principle. Even so Kamma and its effect are inter-related. for beings are merely the visible manifestation of this invisible Kammic force. The cause produces the effect. the mystery of so-called fate or predestination of other religions. believe that sorrow and happiness one experiences are the natural outcome of one's own good and bad actions." makes him ever kind. self reliance and moral courage. tolerant and considerate. Buddhists. It is this doctrine of Kamma that gives him consolation. Inherent in Kamma is the potentiality of producing its due effect. on the contrary. It is not the complete annihilation of this so-called being. and above all the inequality of mankind. the fruit explains the seed as both are interrelated. hope. It is also this firm belief in Kamma that prompts him to refrain from evil. For Buddhism does not recognize an Almighty Being who rules His subjects and rewards and punishes them accordingly. do good and be good without being frightened of any punishment or tempted by any reward. It is this doctrine of Kamma that can explain the problem of suffering. It is this belief in Kamma "that validates his effort. the effect explains the cause. Death is nothing but the temporary end of this temporary phenomenon. Chapter VII Re-birth As long as this Kammic force exists there is re-birth." A Buddhist who is fully convinced of the doctrine of Kamma does not pray to another to be saved but confidently relies on himself for his purification because it teaches individual responsibility.

which strictly means the arising of the five aggregates or . In a circle of cause and effect a first cause is inconceivable. With regard to the origin of the first protoplasm of life. According to Buddhism we are born from the matrix of action (Kammayoni). then we are at once faced with the alleged mysterious problem — "What is the ultimate origin of life?" Either there must be a beginning or there cannot be a beginning for life. and becomes. One school. If we postulate a past. the parent of the future. The birth of a being. According to the former. From the scientific standpoint. Parents merely provide an infinitesimally small cell. It is this invisible Kammic energy. As such being precedes being. it is beginningless. For a being to be born here a being must die somewhere. conditions the future. Another school denies a first cause for. and present Kamma. the cause ever becomes the effect and the effect becomes the cause. or colloid. postulates a first cause. life has had a beginning. generated from the past birth that produces mental phenomena and the phenomenon of life in an already extent physical phenomenon. and a future life. in attempting to solve the problem. scientists plead ignorance. to complete the trio that constitutes man. in turn. the passing away of the present dying thought-moment only conditions a fresh consciousness in another birth. As the Kammic force remains entirely undisturbed by the disintegration of the fleeting body.has ceased. we are the direct products of the sperm and ovum cells provided by our parents. The present is the offspring of the past. God. rooted in ignorance and craving. As such life precedes life. according to the latter. viewed as a force or as an Almighty Being. that conditions rebirth. Past Kamma conditions the present birth. It is Kamma. in common experience. present. in combination with past Kamma. At the moment of conception it is past Kamma that conditions the initial consciousness that vitalizes the fetus. but the Kammic force which hitherto actuated it has not been destroyed.

Following His instructions. An ultimate beginning of this life-stream cannot be determined. He is chiefly concerned with the problem of suffering and its destruction. This enigmatic statement may be better understood by imagining life as a wave and not as a straight line. But how are we to believe that there is a past existence? The most valuable evidence Buddhists cite in favor of rebirth is the Buddha. A first beginning of beings. . then only. The Buddha has here referred merely to the beginning of the lifestream of living beings. His disciples also developed this knowledge and were able to read their past lives to a great extent. The constant succession of birth and death in connection with each individual life flux constitutes what is technically known as Samsara — recurrent wandering. in conventional terms. obstructed by ignorance and fettered by craving." This life-stream flows ad infinitum. who. Nor does He deal with theories and speculations that tend neither to edification nor to enlightenment. all irrelevant side issues are completely ignored. wander and fare on. Birth precedes death. if one so wishes. The Buddha does not attempt to solve all the ethical and philosophical problems that perplex mankind. What is the ultimate origin of life? The Buddha declares: "Without cognizable end is this Samsara. is not to be perceived. When these two are completely cut off. Birth and death are only two phases of the same process. corresponds to the death of a being in a past life.psycho-physical phenomena in this present life. With but this one practical and specific purpose in view. rebirth ends as in the case of the Buddhas and Arahats. on the other hand. just as. does the stream cease to flow. the rising of the sun in one place means the setting of the sun in another place. precedes birth. Nor does He demand blind faith from His adherents. as a stage cannot be perceived when this life-force was not fraught with ignorance and craving. for He developed a knowledge which enabled Him to read past and future lives. as long as it is fed by the muddy waters of ignorance and craving. and death. It is left to scientists to speculate on the origin and the evolution of the universe.

clairvoyance. How often do we meet persons whom we have never met. respectable cases tend to throw some light on the idea of a past birth. There are also some persons. even greater than themselves. In hypnotic states some relate experiences of their past lives. Into this world come Perfect Ones like the Buddhas and highly developed personalities.Even some Indian Rishis. while a few others. ghostly phenomena. their posterity. Homer and Plato. etc. etc. and remember fragments of their previous lives. were distinguished for such psychic powers as clairaudience." . Kalidasa.? Heredity alone cannot account for them. and yet feel impressed that we are perfectly acquainted with those surroundings? The Buddha tells us: "Through previous associations or present advantage. Mozart. remembering past births. read the past lives of others and even heal diseases. Ramanujan. and yet instinctively feel that they are quite familiar to us? How often do we visit places.10 Sometimes we get strange experiences which cannot be explained but by rebirth." Experiences of some reliable modern psychics. that old love springs up again like the lotus in the water. thought-reading. Raphael. men of genius like Shakespeare. "Else their ancestry would disclose it. before the advent of the Buddha. demonstrate it. Do they evolve suddenly? Can they be the products of a single existence? How are we to account for great characters like Buddhaghosa. who probably in accordance with the laws of association. So are the experiences of some modern dependable psychics and strange cases of alternating and multiple personalities. infant prodigies like Pascal. Panini. Such cases are very rare. spontaneously develop the memory of their past birth. strange alternating and multiple personalities and so on shed some light upon this problem of rebirth. spirit communications. but those few well-attested. Beethoven.

" A Western writer says: "Whether we believe in a past existence or not.Could they rise to such lofty heights if they had not lived noble lives and gained similar experiences in the past? Is it by mere chance that they are been born or those particular parents and placed under those favorable circumstances? The few years that we are privileged to spend here or. must certainly be an inadequate preparation for eternity. then surely there are no reasons to disbelieve that we shall continue to exist after our present life has apparently ceased. continues the Buddha." It should be stated that this doctrine of rebirth can neither be proved nor disproved experimentally. Our reason tells us that this idea of past birth and Kamma alone can explain the degrees of difference that exist between twins. If there are reasons to believe that we have existed in the past. and so forth. the vast diversity in mind and morals. Ignorance is. in conditions. the cause of birth and death. it is quite logical to believe in the past. The cause of this Kamma. and acts in turn as the parent of the future. and its transmutation into knowingness or vijja is consequently their cessation. in brain and physique. the existence of infant precocity. The present is the offspring of the past. how men like Shakespeare with a very limited experience are able to portray with marvelous exactitude the most diverse types of human character. is avijja or ignorance of the Four Noble Truths. It is indeed a strong argument in favor of past and future lives that "in this world virtuous persons are very often unfortunate and vicious persons prosperous. it forms the only reasonable hypothesis which bridges certain gaps in human knowledge concerning certain facts of every day life. . but it is accepted as an evidentially verifiable fact. If one believes in the present and in the future. therefore. for the most five score years. circumstances and environment observable throughout the world. why the work of the genius invariably transcends his experience. scenes and so forth of which they could have no actual knowledge.

It clouds all right understanding. or dependent upon: Samuppada "arising or origination." It must be borne in mind that Paticca Samuppada is only a discourse on the process of birth and death and not a theory of the ultimate origin of life. Chapter VIII Paticca Samuppada Paticca means because of. Dependent on ignorance of the Four Noble Truths arise activities (Sankhara) — both moral and immoral. It deals with the cause of rebirth and suffering." Paticca Samuppada. . good actions are essential to get rid of the ills of life. only tend to prolong life's wandering. Because of the six senses contact (Phassa) sets in. This links the past with the present. Contact leads to feeling (Vedana). The six senses (Salayatana) are the inevitable consequences of mind and body. therefore. Simultaneous with the arising of rebirth-consciousness there come into being mind and body (Nama-rupa). literally means — "Dependent Arising" or "Dependent Origination. Nevertheless. Dependent on activities arise rebirth-consciousness (Viññana).The result of this analytical method is summed up in the Paticca Samuppada. but it does not in the least attempt to show the evolution of the world from primordial matter. The activities whether good or bad rooted in ignorance which must necessarily have their due effects. Ignorance (Avijja) is the first link or cause of the wheel of life.

consciousness. Pain. six senses. Old age and death are possible in and with a psychophysical organism. Dependent on feeling arises craving (Tanha). If on account of cause effect comes to be. then if the cause ceases. Grief. The reverse order of the Paticca Samuppada will make the matter clear. . Such an organism must be born. Grasping is the cause of Kamma (Bhava) which in its turn. Death. and the last two to the future. It is the result of past good and evil.These five — viz. Therefore it presupposes organs of senses which cannot exist without mind and body. Kamma is conditioned by grasping which is due to craving. conditions future birth (Jati). The whole formula may be summed up thus: Dependent on Ignorance arise Activities (Moral and Immoral) " " Activities arises Consciousness (Re-birth Consciousness) " " Consciousness arise Mind and Matter " " Mind and Matter arise the six Spheres of Sense " " the Six Spheres of Sense arises Contact " " Contact arises Feeling " " Feeling arises Craving " " Craving arises Grasping " " Grasping arise Actions (Kamma) " " Actions arises Rebirth " " Birth arise Decay. Where there is a mind there is consciousness. Craving results in grasping (Upadana). Lamentation. Sorrow. therefore it pre-supposes birth. the effect also must cease. Feeling is the outcome of contact between the senses and objects. mind and matter. Such craving can appear only where feeling exists. Birth is the inevitable cause of old age and death (Jara-marana).. The first two of these twelve pertain to the past. the middle eight to the present. The acquisition of good and evil is due to ignorance of things as they truly are. But birth is the inevitable result of past deeds or Kamma. contact and feeling — are the effects of past actions and are called the passive side of life. and Despair. Thus does the entire aggregate of suffering arise.

an immortal soul is absolutely . Pain. Death. Lamentation. " " " Consciousness leads to the cessation of mind and matter. then the end of the life process of Samsara comes about. is eternal. Thus does the cessation of this entire aggregate of suffering result. If the immortal soul. The cessation of Activities leads to the cessation of Consciousness. " " " Actions leads to the cessation of Re-birth. This process of cause and effect continues ad infinitum. " " " Feeling leads to the cessation of Craving. " " " Mind and Matter leads to the cessation of the six Spheres of Sense. " " " Contact leads to the cessation of Feeling. Buddhism denies the existence of an unchanging or eternal soul created by a God or emanating from a Divine Essence (Paramatma). Besides one cannot understand why "different souls are so variously constituted at the outset. " " " Grasping leads to the cessation of Actions. The beginning of this process cannot be determined as it is impossible to say whence this life-flux was encompassed by nescience. " " " Craving leads to the cessation of Grasping. " " " Re-birth leads to the cessation of Decay. Sorrow. " " " the six Spheres of Sense leads to the cessation of Contact." To prove the existence of endless felicity in an eternal heaven and unending torments in an eternal hell. there cannot be either a rise or a fall. But when this nescience is turned into knowledge. Grief.The complete cessation of Ignorance leads to the cessation of Activities. and Despair. and the life-flux is diverted into Nibbanadhatu. Chapter IX Anatta or Soul-lessness This Buddhist doctrine of re-birth should be distinguished from the theory of re-incarnation which implies the transmigration of a soul and its invariable material rebirth. which is supposed to be the essence of man.

Otherwise." matter has since disintegrated under our very eyes. to take an even more obvious example if I simultaneously see a man and hear him speaking. The so-called atoms. what is it that is punished in hell or rewarded in heaven? "It should be said. it is no longer enduring. In the present state of psychology belief in immortality can at any rate claim no support from science. such as it is. and in process of continual change both as regards shape and position than that of a thing. and. Hume. "For sufficient reasons physicists have reduced this atom to a series of events. there is some sense in which the 'I' that sees is the same as the 'I' that hears.M. "that the old distinction between soul and body has evaporated quite as much because 'matter' has lost its solidity as mind has lost its spirituality." Buddhists do agree with Russell when he says "there is obviously some reason in which I am the same person as I was yesterday." writes Bertrand Russell. Psychology is just beginning to be scientific. "There are some philosophers. it is no longer known. looked into consciousness and perceived hat there was nothing except fleeting mental states and concluded that the supposed "permanent ego" is non-existent." As C." The electrons and protons that compose atoms "can meet and annihilate one another while their persistence. are both "divisible and destructible. it is no longer determined by compulsive causal laws. The question of immortality. For equally good reasons psychologists find that mind has not the identity of a single continuing thing but is a series of occurrences bound together by certain intimate relations.' that we feel its existence . has become the question whether these intimate relations exist between occurrences connected with a living body and other occurrence which take place after that body is dead. for instance. is rather that of a wave lacking fixed boundaries. it seems.necessary." Till recently scientists believed in an indivisible and indestructible atom. Joad says in "The Meaning of Life." he says. and more important than all. It is no longer solid. "who imagine we are every moment conscious of what we call 'ourself."11 Bishop Berkeley who showed that this so-called atom is a metaphysical fiction held that there exists a spiritual substance called the soul. therefore.E.

when I enter most intimately into what I call 'myself' I always stumble on some particular perception or other — of heat or cold. and cessation or dissolution (bhanga)." In concluding his interesting chapter on the soul he says: "And in this book the provisional solution which we have reached must be the final word: the thoughts themselves are the thinkers. and never can observe anything but the perception. light or shade.and its continuance in existence and so we are certain.. James says — "The soul-theory is a complete superfluity. both of its perfect identity and simplicity. a distinguished psychologist. Nevertheless to doubt its existence is to become a heretic and once might possibly even had led to the loss of one's head. a continuous flow of consciousness like a stream without any interruption.." Watson.. all the indelibly recorded impressions to its successor. Immediately after the cessation stage of a thought moment there occurs the genesis stage of the subsequent thought-moment. Even today a man holding a public position dare not question it. states: "No one has ever touched a soul or has seen one in a test tube or has in any way come into relationship with it as he has with the other objects of his daily experience. pain or pleasure. So far no one can be compelled to subscribe to it for definite scientific reasons. I never catch myself.. It is a change without ceasing. For my part." The Buddha anticipated these facts some 2500 years ago. love or hatred. when change ceases it ceases. nor do I conceive what is further requisite to make me a perfect non-entity. on passing away. One unit of consciousness consists of three phases — arising or genesis (uppada) static or development (thiti). Each momentary consciousness of this ever-changing life-process. transmits its whole energy." Bergson says. According to Buddhism mind is nothing but a complex compound of fleeting mental states. so far as accounting for the actually verified facts of conscious experience goes. Every fresh consciousness consists of the potentialities of its predecessors together with something more. There is therefore. The subsequent thought moment is neither absolutely the same as its predecessor — since that which goes to make it up is not identical — nor entirely . "All consciousness is time existence. and a conscious state is not a state that endures without changing." Dealing with this question of soul Prof. it is itself nothing but change.

Here there is no identical being but there is an identity in process. It is always in the present. As Bhikkhu Silacara says: "Unseen it passes whithersoever the conditions appropriate to its visible manifestation are present.another — being the same continuity of Kamma energy. and is ever slipping into the irrevocable past. But we worldlings. When one mode of its manifestation . The rapidity of the flow is such that hardly is there any standard whereby it can be measured even approximately. on the contrary. an Atta. Well. The arising of one thought-moment means the passing away of another thoughtmoment and vice versa. veiled by the web of illusion. there is nothing to be re-born. No state once gone ever recurs nor is identical with what goes before. the supposed doer and receptacle of all actions to this ever-changing consciousness. When life ceases the Kammic energy rematerializes itself in another form. It must not be understood that a consciousness is chopped up in bits and joined together like a train or a chain. "The so-called being is like a flash of lightning that is resolved into a succession of sparks that follow upon one another with such rapidity that the human retina cannot perceive them separately. If there is no soul. one might ask. every moment there is death."13 As the wheel of a cart rests on the ground at one point. so does the being live only for one thought-moment. But. there making its presence known in the dazzling magnificence of a Deva or an Archangel's existence. However. and ever dispensing to the world without the thought-stuff it has gathered by the way. Every moment there is birth. "it persistently flows on like a river receiving from the tributary streams of sense constant accretions to its flood. what is it that is reborn. In the course of one life-time there is momentary rebirth without a soul. nor can the uninstructed conceive of such succession of separate sparks. Here we find a juxtaposition of such fleeting mental states of consciousness opposed to a superposition of such states as some appear to believe. mistake this apparent continuity to be something eternal and go to the extent of introducing an unchanging soul. What we shall become is determined by this present thought-moment. it pleases the commentators to say that the time duration of one thought-moment is even less than onebillionth part of the time occupied by a flash of lightning."12 It has birth for its source and death for its mouth. Here showing itself as a tiny gnat or worm.

so a series of life-processes is possible without an immortal soul to transmigrate from one existence to another. reveals itself afresh in another name or form.e. to Nibbanadhatu.. in that it is a departure from the craving which is called Vana. It may also be defined as the extinction of lust. Chapter X Nibbana This process of birth and death continues ad infinitum until this flux is transmuted. As the process of one lifespan is possible without a permanent entity passing from one thoughtmoment to another. hatred and ignorance. i. Just as the arising of a physical state is conditioned by a preceding state as its cause. The Pali word Nibbana is formed of Ni and Vana. hatred and ignorance. the ultimate goal of Buddhists. Buddhism does not totally deny the existence of a personality in an empirical sense. so to say. and not limited only to the present life. "The whole world is in flames. a flux or a continuity." Birth is the arising of the psycho-physical phenomena. but having its source in the beginningless past and its continuation in the future — is the Buddhist substitute for the permanent ego or the immortal soul of other religions. Nibbana means non-attachment. The Kammic force of each individual binds the elements together. Ni is a negative particle and Vana means lusting or craving. It includes the mental and physical elements as well. This uninterrupted flux or continuity of psychophysical phenomenon. lusting. . Death is merely the temporary end of a temporary phenomenon. The Buddhist philosophical term for an individual is Santana. by the fire of birth. It only attempts to show that it does not exist in an ultimate sense." says the Buddha.ceases it merely passes on. "It is called Nibbana. and where suitable circumstances offer. so the appearance of psycho-physical phenomena is conditioned by cause anterior to its birth. which is conditioned by Kamma. "By what fire is it kindled? By the fire of lust." Literally.

" . and happy (Sukha). When an arahant attains Parinibbana. unoriginated." nor is anything "annihilated. In the words of Sir Edwin Arnold: "If any teach Nirvana is to cease Say unto such they lie. it is eternal (Dhuva). receiving its name according to the way it is experienced before and after death. When Nibbana is realized in this life with the body remaining. but the one single Nibbana. uncreated and unformed. sorrow. Nibbana is not situated in any place nor is it a sort of heaven where a transcendental ego resides. In that well known story. Here lies the chief difference between the Buddhist conception of Nibbana and the non-Buddhist conception of an eternal heaven attainable only after death or a union with a God or Divine Essence in an after-life. Nibbana is a Dhamma which is "unborn." It should not be understood that Nibbana is a state of nothingness or annihilation owing to the fact that we cannot perceive it with our worldly knowledge. One cannot say that there exists no light just because the blind man does not see it. It is a state which is dependent upon this body itself. Buddhism does not state that this ultimate goal could be reached only in a life beyond. triumphantly concluded that there exists no land. in fact. but what it is no words can adequately express." Hence. the turtle. If any teach Nirvana is to love Say unto such they err. it is called Sopadisesa Nibbana-dhatu. These. death. without any remainder of physical existence it is called Anupadisesa Nibbana-dhatu. According to the Books references are made to Nibbana as Sopadisesa and Anupadisesa. lamentation. grief and despair it is kindled. Nibbana of the Buddhists is neither a mere nothingness nor a state of annihilation. Nibbana is a supramundane state attainable even in this present life. the fish arguing with his friend. It is an attainment (Dhamma) which is within the reach of all. In Nibbana nothing is "eternalized. pain. after the dissolution of his body." besides suffering. desirable (Subha). are not two kinds of Nibbana.old age. too.

From a metaphysical standpoint Nibbana is deliverance from suffering. From a psychological standpoint Nibbana is the eradication of egoism. To say that he is reborn would not fit the case. we must say 'no'." Chapter XI The Path to Nibbana How is Nibbana to be attained? It is by following the Noble Eight-fold Path which consists of Right Understanding (Samma-ditthi). . and Right Concentration (samma-samadhi). nor can one say that the arahant is annihilated for there is nothing to annihilate. Right Actions (samma-kammanta). Right Effort (samma-vayama). writes: "If we ask. Does the arahant exist or not after death? The Buddha replies: "The arahant who has been released from the five aggregates is deep. Robert Oppenheimer. immeasurable like the mighty ocean. From an ethical standpoint Nibbana is the destruction of lust. hatred and ignorance. for instance. Right Thoughts (samma-sankappa)." One cannot say that an arahant is reborn as all passions that condition rebirth are eradicated. a scientist. Right Speech (samma-vaca). if we ask whether the electron is at rest.' "The Buddha has given such answers when interrogated as to the conditions of man's self after death. Right Livelihood (samma-ajiva). if we ask whether the electron's position changes with time. To say that he is neither reborn nor not reborn would not fit the case.14 but they are not familiar answers from the tradition of the 17th and 18th century science. we must say 'no. we must say 'no'. Right Mindfulness (samma-sati). we must say 'no'. whether the position of the electron remains the same. if we ask whether it is in motion.

They are trading in arms. human beings. Right Understanding has matured into perfect Insight Wisdom (vipassanapañña). This includes abstinence from falsehood. Right Understanding. To understand rightly means to understand things as they really are and not as they appear to be. leading directly to the Stages of Sainthood. Purifying his thoughts. which is the key-note of Buddhism. ii. Clear vision of right understanding leads to clear thinking. goodwill. Right Thoughts lead to Right Speech. The second factor of the Noble Eight-fold Path is therefore. which serves the double purpose of eliminating evil thoughts and developing pure thoughts. which is opposed to cruelty and callousness. because. namely: . which is opposed to attachment. words and deeds at the outset. or aversion. as the Rohitassa Sutta states. 6. the third factor. Right Understanding stands at the beginning as well as at its end. Right Thoughts. which is opposed to hatred. and possessiveness. Right Speech must be followed by Right Action which comprises abstinence from killing. 2. At the culmination of the practice. slandering. selfishness. 4. Avyapada — Loving-kindness. This refers primarily to a correct understanding of oneself. A minimum degree of Right Understanding is necessary at the very beginning because it gives the right motivations to the other seven factors of the Path and gives to them correct direction. the spiritual pilgrim tries to purify his livelihood by refraining from the five kinds of trade which are forbidden to a lay-disciple. ill-will. or benevolence. harsh words. are three fold. and poisons.1. and frivolous talk. wrong livelihood consists of hypocritical conduct and wrong means of obtaining the requisites of monk-life. In the practice of the Noble Eightfold Path. 3. and Avihimsa — Harmlessness or compassion. animals for slaughter. in this particular connection. intoxicating drinks and drugs. iii. Right Effort is fourfold. Right Thoughts (samma-sankappa). "Dependent on this one-fathom long body with its consciousness" are all the four Truths. For monks. is explained as the knowledge of the four Noble Truths. Nekkhamma — Renunciation of worldly pleasures or the virtue of selflessness. 5. stealing and sexual misconduct. They consist of: i.

Violation of them means the . These elementary principles of regulated behavior are essential to one who treads the path to Nibbana.i. But according to the order of development the sequence is as follows: I. Right Effort and Right Mindfulness lead to Right Concentration. 7. the following three under Morality (sila). Abstaining from sexual misconduct which debases the exalted nature of man. he should be truthful. Right Mindfulness is constant mindfulness with regard to body. iii. Avoiding pernicious drinks that promote heedlessness. 8. man should be kind and compassionate towards all. he should be upright and honest in all his dealings. i. Wisdom (pañña) Right Understanding Right Thoughts Morality (sila) is the first stage on this path to Nibbana. the endeavor to promote the good which has already arisen. the endeavor to discard evil that has already arisen. and the last three under Concentration (samadhi). and mind-objects. Concentration (samadhi) Right Effort Right Mindfulness Right Concentration III. Shunning false speech. iii. the endeavor to develop unarisen good. Refraining from stealing. he should be pure. culminating in the Jhanas or meditative absorptions. Without killing or causing injury to any living creature. even to the tiniest creature that crawls at his feet. It is the one-pointedness of mind. iv. ii. Of these eight factors of the Noble Eightfold Path the first two are grouped under the heading of Wisdom (pañña). the endeavor to prevent the arising of unarisen evil. Morality (sila) Right Speech Right Action Right Livelihood II. thoughts. ii. feelings. iv. he should be sober and diligent.

The spiritual pilgrim. compassion (Karuna).introduction of obstacles on the path which will obstruct his moral progress. There are different subjects for meditation according to the temperaments of the individuals. one leads a life of celibacy. After giving careful consideration to the subject for contemplation. disciplining thus his words and deeds. After attaining the third state of Sainthood. Securing a firm footing on the ground of morality. While he progresses slowly and steadily with regulated word and deed and restrained senses. the control and culture of the mind — the second stage on this Path. This being satisfactorily settled. One's spiritual progress is expedited by being a Bhikkhu although as a lay follower one can become an arahant. the progressing pilgrim then embarks upon the higher practice of Samadhi." It should not be understood that everyone is expected to lead the life of a Bhikkhu or a celibate life to achieve one's goal. he makes a persistent effort to focus his mind until he becomes so wholly absorbed and interested in it. Meditation on lovingkindness is very beneficial as it is conducive to mental peace and happiness. sympathetic joy (Mudita). he should choose the one most suited to his temperament. Concentration on respiration is the easiest to gain the one-pointedness of the mind. may advance a step further and try to control his senses. Observance of them means steady and smooth progress along the path. Samadhi — is the "one-pointedness of the mind. that all other . and equanimity (Upekkha) — is highly commendable. To him then comes the idea that. "A den of strife is household life." It is the concentration of the mind on one object to the entire exclusion of all irrelevant matter. But free and high as the open sky Is the life the homeless lead. the Kammic force of this striving aspirant may compel him to renounce worldly pleasures and adopt the ascetic life. Cultivation of the four sublime states — loving-kindness (Metta). And filled with toil and need.

He comprehends that life is constantly changing and all conditioned things are transient. indulgence in (wrongful) rites and ceremonies (Silabbataparamasa). he chooses one that appeals to him most and intently keeps on developing Insight in that particular direction until that glorious day comes to him when he would realize Nibbana for the first time in his life. . sloth and torpor. for by concentration. Divine Ear (Dibhasota). enjoying the calmness and serenity of a one-pointed mind. They may rise to the surface at unexpected moments. When one gains this perfect one-pointedness of the mind it is possible for one to develop the five Supernormal Powers (Abhiñña): Divine Eye (Dibbacakkhu). having destroyed the three Fetters — self-illusion (Sakkaya-ditthi). sense-desire. Neither in heaven nor on earth does he find any genuine happiness. Thought Reading (Paracitta vijañana) and different Psychic Powers (Iddhividha). It must not be understood that those supernormal powers are essential for Sainthood. Reminiscence of past births (Pubbenivasanussati-ñana). hatred. and where change and sorrow prevail there cannot be a permanent immortal soul. passions are lulled to sleep temporarily. Though the mind is now purified there still lies dormant in him the tendency to give vent to his passions. of these three characteristics. Both Discipline and Concentration are helpful to clear the Path of its obstacles but it is Insight (Vipassana Pañña) alone which enables one to see things as they truly are. Dukkha (sorrow) and anatta (soul-lessness) standing out in bold relief. for every form of pleasure is a prelude to pain. and consequently reach the ultimate goal by completely annihilating the passions inhibited by Samadhi. The five hindrances to progress — namely. With his one-pointed mind which now resembles a polished mirror he looks at the world to get a correct view of life. restlessness and brooding and doubts are then temporarily inhibited. becomes enwrapt in Jhana. Eventually he gains ecstatic concentration and. This is the third and the final stage on the Path of Nibbana. Whereupon. Wherever he turns his eyes he sees nought but the Three Characteristics — Anicca (transiency).thoughts get ipso facto excluded from the mind. to his indescribable joy. What is transient is therefore painful. doubts (Vicikiccha).

Instantly he realizes that what was to be accomplished has been done. The Worthy One now stands on heights more than celestial. This maketh mortals pure. realizing the unutterable bliss of Nibbana and like many an arahant of old. which refuses any efficacy to prayer and sacrifice. As he has not eradicated all Fetters he is reborn seven times at the most. It is in the third state of Sainthood — Anagama (never-returner) that he completely discards the aforesaid two Fetters. Now the saintly pilgrim." . Summoning up fresh courage. which denies a soul to man. and ignorance (Avijja) — becomes a perfect Saint: an arahant. a Worthy One. far removed from the rebellious passions and defilements of the world. conceit (Mana). that a heavy burden of sorrow has been relinquished.H. After death he is reborn in the "Pure Abodes" (Suddhavasa) a congenial Brahma plane. uttering that paean of joy: "Goodwill and wisdom. he neither returns to this world nor does he seek birth in the celestial realms." As T. which in its original purity knew nothing of vows of obedience and never sought the aid of the secular arm: yet spread over a considerable moiety of the world with marvelous rapidity — and is still the dominant creed of a large fraction of mankind. The highest conduct on good morals based. and that the Path to Nibbana has been trodden.At this stage he is called a Sotapanna (stream-winner) — one who has entered the stream that leads to Nibbana. not rank or wealth. till he attains Arhatship. destroying the remaining Fetters — namely. He is called a Sakadagami because he is reborn on earth only once in case he does not attain Arhatship. since he has no more desire for sensual pleasures. which bids men to look to nothing but their own efforts for salvation. the Pilgrim makes rapid progress and cultivating deeper Insight becomes a Sakadagami (onnce-returner) by weakening two more Fetters — namely Sense-desire (Kamaraga) and ill-will (Patigha). makes his final advance and. that all forms of attachment have been totally annihilated. encouraged by the unprecedented success of his endeavors. as a result of this glimpse of Nibbana. Thereafter. mind by method trained. Huxley states — "Buddhism is a system which knows no God in the Western sense. lust after life in Realms of Forms (Ruparaga) and Formless Realms (Aruparaga). which counts the belief in immortality a blunder. restlessness (Uddhacca).

Head should not be drooping. . The Buddha also practiced concentration on respiration before He attained Enlightenment. Concentration on the breathing process leads to one-pointedness of the mind and ultimately to Insight which enables one to attain Sainthood or Arhatship. It is of no importance which posture one may adopt provided the position is easy and relaxed. When the triangular position is assumed the whole body is wellbalanced. Adopting a convenient posture. They sit placing the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh. Place the right hand over the left hand. that is by simply placing the right foot on the left thigh or the left foot on the right thigh. keep the body erect. Buddhas usually adopt the full lotus position. This harmless concentration may be practiced by any person irrespective of religious beliefs. Eyes may be closed or half-closed.Appendix Concentration on Respiration Anapana Sati Anapana Sati is mindfulness on respiration. Ana means inhalation and Apana exhalation. This is the full position. Easterners generally sit cross-legged with the body erect. Sometimes they adopt the half position. They sit with half closed eyes looking not more than a distance of three and half feet. Those who find the cross-legged posture too difficult may sit comfortably in a chair or any other support sufficiently high to rest the legs on the ground. Neck should be straightened so that the nose may be in a perpendicular line with the navel.

Inhale and count three. Later. bad air from the lungs should be breathed out slowly through the mouth and then the mouth should be closed. thus he trains himself. Exhale and pause for a moment. Clearly perceiving the entire breathing process (i.e. While doing so one's mind may wander. After practicing for a certain period a day might come when one may realize that this so-called body is supported by mere breath and that body perishes when breathing ceases.. concentrating merely on inhalation without counting. When one practices this concentration one feels very peaceful. 1. What is essential is concentration and not counting. When making a long inhalation he knows: 'I make a long inhalation'. 'I will inhale. 'I make a long exhalation. Where there is change there cannot be a permanent entity or an immortal soul. Some prefer counting as it aide concentration while others prefer not to count. It is clear that the object of this concentration on respiration is not merely to gain one-pointedness but also to cultivate Insight to obtain deliverance from suffering. without force. one may inhale and pause for a moment. Exhale and count two. Count up to ten constantly concentrating on the breathing process without thinking of anything else. mindfully he exhales. the beginning. Insight can then be developed to attain Arhatship. light in mind and body. Gradually one may increase the number of series — say five series of ten. One fully realizes impermanence. which is secondary.Before the practice. when making a short exhalation he knows: 'I make a short exhalation. clearly .' 3. Mentally count one. When making a short inhalation he knows: ' I make a short inhalation'. without strain. middle and end). In some discourses this simple and harmless method of respiration is described as follows: "Mindfully he inhales. when making a long exhalation he knows. But one need not be discouraged. Now inhale through the nostrils normally. Thus inhale and exhale concentrating on respiration.' 2.

thus he trains himself. jealousy. Like a polished mirror is my stainless mind. thus he trains himself. calming the respirations. 'I will exhale'. hatred and ignorance. Think ten times: May I16 be well and happy! May I be free from suffering. thus he trains himself. 'I will inhale'. ill will. grief. sympathetic joy and perfect equanimity. cruelty. As a clean and empty vessel is filled with pure water I now fill my clean heart and pure mind with peaceful and sublime thoughts of boundless loving-kindness over-flowing compassion. free from all impurities. free from lust. I have now washed my mind and heart of anger. Recite three times — Nammo Buddhaya — (Honor to the Buddha) Recite three times — Araham — (The Pure One) Recite: Buddham saranam gacchami — (I go to the Buddha for refuge) Dhamman saranam gacchami — (I go to the Dhamma for refuge) Sangham saranam gacchami — (I go to the Sangha for refuge)15 Think thus: My mind is temporarily pure. " Meditation on Loving-kindness Metta Be still and peaceful. envy. 4. violence. passion and aversion. worry and anger! . free from all evil thoughts My mind is pure and clean. Calming the respiration. 'I will exhale'. disease.perceiving the entire breathing process.

You are one with all. from head to foot. I am not affected by the evil vibrations of others. compassion for cruelty. I return good for evil. men. I am a stronghold. healthy and peaceful! Think: Mentally I create an aura of loving-kindness around me. disease. repeating May all beings be well and happy!. living near and far. West. What I have gained I now give unto others.. healthy and peaceful! Think thus: Now I charge every particle of my system. a fortress of loving-kindness and compassion.kindness. ennobled myself. in the East. My whole body is saturated with loving-kindness and compassion. By means of this aura. women. .. with thoughts of boundless loving-kindness and compassion. Think of all your near and dear ones at home. individually or collectively. Think ten times: May I be well and happy! May I be free from suffering. self-confident. without any enmity or obstruction. North. creed. and radiate boundless loving-kindness. South. lovingkindness for anger. elevated myself. Now I am a fortress of loving. color or sex. worry and anger! May I be strong.May I be strong. irrespective of class. I am nothing but lovingkindness and compassion. You identify with all. Think that all are your brothers and sisters. I am peaceful and well-balanced in mind. animals and all living beings. a stronghold of morality. Then think of all seen and unseen beings. sympathetic joy for jealously. fellow-beings in the ocean of life. hostile vibrations. towards all. I have sublimated myself. I am the embodiment of loving-kindness and compassion. grief. self-confident. and fill them with thoughts of loving-kindness and wish them peace and happiness. I cut off all negative thoughts. above and below.

" and wish them all peace and happiness. friendly and compassionate! May I be able to regard all as my brothers and sisters and be one with all! (Metta — Loving-kindness) . May I be generous and helpful! (Dana — Generosity) 2.Repeat ten times. May I be firm and resolute and have an iron will! May I be soft as a flower and firm as a rock! May I ever be high-principled! (Adhitthana — Determination) 9. words and deeds be pure! (Sila — Morality) 3. May I not be selfish and self-possessive but selfless and disinterested! May I be able to sacrifice my pleasure for the sake of others! (Nekkhamma — Renunciation) 4. May I be wise and be able to see things as they truly are! May I see the light of Truth and lead others from darkness to light! May I be enlightened and be able to enlighten others! May I be able to give the benefit of my knowledge to others! (Panna — Wisdom) 5. vigorous and persevering! May I strive diligently until I achieve my goal! May I be fearless in facing dangers and courageously surmount all obstacles! May I be able to serve others to the best of my ability! (Viriya — Energy) 6. May I ever be kind. Perfections Parami 1. May I be well-disciplined and refined in manners! May I be pure and clean in all my dealings! May my thoughts. May I ever be truthful and honest! May I not hide the truth to be polite! May I never swerve from the path of Truth! (Sacca — Truthfulness) 8. May I be ever patient! May I be able to bear and forbear the wrongs of others! May I ever be tolerant and see the good and beautiful in all! (Khanti — Patience) 7. "May all beings be well and happy. In the course of your daily life try to translate your thoughts into action as occasion demands. May I be energetic.

the Worthy Ones. Craving associated with "Nihilism" (Ucchedaditthi) (Comy) 9. unruffled and peaceful! May I gain a balanced mind! May I have perfect equanimity! (Upekkha — Equanimity) May I serve to be perfect! May I be perfect to serve! Notes 1. No. Trans. 3. Thus who hath come. May I ever be calm. 5. 2. The Meaning of Life 12.. 6. C. Compare the cinematograph film where the individual photographs give rise to a notion of movement. Lit. London) — Introduction p. serene. Here the term "I" is used in a conventional sense. 16. Bhikkhu Silacara 7. They are the enlightened disciples who have destroyed all passions. 14. Culakamma Vibhanga Sutta — Majjhima Nikaya. by Shwe Zan Aung (Pali Text Society. Joad. 11. 12.E. Evidently the writer is referring to the state of an arahant after death.M. See Many Mansions and The World Within by Gina Cerminara. This introductory part may be omitted by non-Buddhists. Literally. 4. An Awakened or Enlightened One.10. The Teaching. . 10. 13. 15. 135. Craving associated with "Eternalism" (Sassataditthi) (Comy) 8. See Compendium of Philosophy. The Discipline.

These works present Buddhism as it truly is — a dynamic force which has influenced receptive minds for the past 2500 years and is still as relevant today as it was when it first arose.lk . Box 61 54. standard reference works. Sangharaja Mawatha Kandy Sri Lanka » http://www.The Buddhist Publication Society is an approved charity dedicated to making known the Teaching of the Buddha.O.bps. Its publications include accurate annotated translations of the Buddha's discourses.html BUDDHIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY P. the BPS has published a wide variety of books and booklets covering a great range of topics. Revised: Sunday 2006-06-18 http://www. which has a vital message for people of all creeds. as well as original contemporary expositions of Buddhist thought and practice.accesstoinsight. Founded in 1958.org/lib/authors/narada/nutshell.